Profiling The 99 Percent

January 25, 2017

All Posts, News

Profiling The 99 Percent

The phrase motorcycle profiling has appeared in the news at least three times in the last five days.

The term came up twice in press coverage about a couple of photo opportunities in Austin, Texas over the weekend. The bikers were members of the now Bandidos-free Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents. They were there to show their support for a couple of bills that will make life safer and easier for motorcyclists in the Lone Star State. One of them would permit Texas bikers to split lanes at very low speeds in traffic jams and the other would permit bikers to make safe left turns at red lights – as if the lights were only stop signs.

But most of the attention went to a Texas law that hasn’t been written yet – a law that would forbid “motorcycle profiling.”

Profiling

Motorcycle profiling is a comparatively new term – borrowed from the more commonly argued concept of  “racial profiling.”  Motorcycle profiling is a kind of stereotyping. It is assuming that someone must be a criminal because he is riding an American motorcycle with a V-Twin engine or because he is wearing real or ersatz motorcycle club insignia. The argument against profiling assumes, usually correctly. that police have an implicit bias against people who look like bikers.

That biker look itself has become a commodity. A quick trip down to the nearest Harley dealership can prove that. And, it can be argued that profiling occurs because police feel challenged by bikers – because men who look like bikers tend to be libertarian alpha males – and very many cops feel free to use their police powers to dominate and harass men who are not particularly impressed with symbols of authority like badges. At its core “motorcycle profiling” is about social control. And there are very many people who see biker profiling as a civil rights issue that can fixed by passing some laws.

Voices

One of them is Will Dulaney, who last Sunday identified himself to the press as the president of the Hell on Wheels Motorcycle Club at a rally in Round Rock. Four hundred people were there so the world could see they were mad as hell and not eager to take it anymore. “If you wear a patch, you better have some bail money,” Dulaney said.

“This is not about one club. This is not about what happened in Waco two years ago. This is about what’s happening all over the country and here in Texas. Profiling is really getting to epidemic levels,” Dulaney told Austin television station KEYE. “We are absolutely the people who are having these civil liberties trampled upon – our right to associate, our right to congregate, our right to ride our motorcycles free and unfettered,”

Ron “Bone” Blackett of the Texas COC&I told KEYE he thinks people died at the Waco Twin Peaks in May 2015 because of motorcycle profiling. “They can’t stand here with us and celebrate the healthy side of all of this, and that hurts,” Blackett said.

The next day, Steve “Dozer” Cochran, a member of another bikers rights group called US Defenders, complained to television station KVUE about being stopped and harassed by police. “They’re not going to give you a ticket one, but what they do is make you undress and take pictures of all your tattoos. They want to know what motorcycle club you’re in, what you’re doing and where you’re going. And first of all, that’s none of their business.” Cochran told KVUE the harassment has gotten worse since the Twin Peaks biker brawl.

AMA

The most surprising statement about motorcycle profiling came yesterday from the American Motorcyclist Association, It is surprising because the AMA invented the rationale for biker profiling. Shortly after the Hollister motorcycle “riot” in 1947, E.C. Smith, the Executive Secretary of the AMA called the Hollister bikers “outlaws” and asserted that they represented only “one percent” of the motorcycling community at most. Young bikers everywhere took to the romantic term “outlaw” and liked to think of themselves as “one percenters.” Within a year, police in Riverside, California had coined the acronym “OMG.”

Eventually that one percenter, outlaw style came to epitomize everybody on a Harley. The style became a commodity for hustlers as diverse as Harley-Davidson Motor Company salesmen and FX television executives to sell. Yesterday the AMA renounced the stereotype it helped create 70 years ago.

“The American Motorcyclist Association Board of Directors has adopted and issued an official position statement objecting to the profiling of motorcyclists by government agencies, including judging riders on their chosen apparel, mode of transportation or associates, rather than specific behavior and actions,” a press release announced.

“The American Motorcyclist Association has long advocated for the rights of motorcyclists and the motorcycling lifestyle,” the 209 word position paper begins. “The AMA, in diligently scrutinizing government policies directed at motorcyclists, is concerned over motorcyclist profiling. This includes motorcycle-only checkpoints and what is a predisposition in many cases of law enforcement officers targeting motorcyclists solely because they are wearing motorcycle-related clothing.”

“The AMA strongly condemns the profiling of motorcyclists by government agencies and has long championed the undeniable fact that the vast majority of riders and enthusiasts are upstanding, law-abiding citizens. Motorcyclists and motorcycling enthusiasts represent the full range of Americans and should be judged on their specific behaviors and actions, not their chosen mode of transportation or association with others.”

The only constants in history are irony and change. The world keeps turning.

Share

15 Responses to “Profiling The 99 Percent”

  1. russell1946 Says:

    Am a 70 year old rider from the deep South, and have met some of the folks who post in here.

    Rode Jap bikes until I could afford a chopped 1968 Triumph. Couple of years later, bought a brand new 1976 Bonneville, and thought I was the coolest MF around, until a pack of Harleys blasted around me on my way down to Daytona in the summer of 1978.

    Next bike was a brand new 1979 74inch Low Rider, and the rest is history.

    Been on Harleys ever since. Current bike is an ’06 FXST that I’ve been riding for just over 10 years.

    Only times I’ve been profiled was on a trip out of Dothan, Alabama going east on US-84 at the legal speed limit after midnight. Cops pulled me over and checked me out, and I was good to go. I proceeded to US-27 south, towards Tallahassee, and went through the same drill by another cop.

    I’ve often wondered… if I’d been riding a Gold Wing, would they have stopped me?

  2. fayettenamhoe Says:

    as long as i can remember the consistency has been the profiling state to state,
    even after a monthly shower and clean clothes, i expect it to get worse now, the badges like the easy meat;
    ride free

  3. Davr Says:

    GoPros….Buy em, use em, record every single interaction with LEO. Take em to court.

  4. Mercyful Fate Says:

    “And, it can be argued that profiling occurs because police feel challenged by bikers – because men who look like bikers tend to be libertarian alpha males – and very many cops feel free to use their police powers to dominate and harass men who are not particularly impressed with symbols of authority like badges.”

    Spot on, Rebel.

  5. deuce Says:

    This shit has been going on forever. Anyone riding around Long Beach, Seal Beach, or Huntingdon Beach in the 70’s and fitting the “biker stereotype” was open game for the cops. My old lady and I were on the PCH in Long Beach in the late 70’s on my ratty chopper without turn indicators, and I told her to signal a right turn.(Left arm up, index finger up). This punk LBPD pig lit us up and pulled us over. He said the old lady gave him the finger. He gave the bike a serious going over, remarked what pieces of shit H-D’s were, called my old lady a bitch, asked if we were holding weapons or drugs, asked about club affiliation and a bunch of other pig bullshit.
    THE CHP used to camp out on PCH in Sunset Beach just down the road from Mother’s bar and troll for bikers that maybe had an extra beer or two. Easy pickin’s

  6. Nobody Important Says:

    oh, so -now- the AMA is offended on our behalf?

  7. Downtown Says:

    It’s only going to get worse. Lasy week it started again in Daytona Beach. Gang Task Force pulling over bikers on bs traffic stops. Strip down, photos taken of tats, bike, vest , etc. Why you ask? Here’s my two cents. Waco was a test to see how the biker community would react to the bs that was pulled. The test was to show how the cops could break you by locking you away,high bond set, setting in jail because you can’t raise bail, and in the process they ruin you. You lose your job, your money is ate up in legal fees, you lose your family, house, car, bike, etc. The biker community , for the most part, did nothing. No protest, no runs to raise money to assist those arrested, no riots, no mass turnout at the state capital demanding justice. Now after everyone arrested is totally screwed the charges will be dropped but the damage was done. The test proved that if the cops want to screw you they can without having a trial before a jury or anything. Just arrest you on bs charges and set back and watch your world crumble. They could care less about a conviction. They got what they wanted, to totally fuck your life up. Now thats my two cents, for what it’s worth.

  8. Igo Says:

    But no cops are profiling the Iron Order, or the wild pigs? Nice to know somebody gets a pass….

  9. Paladin Says:

    Profiling, whether religious, racial or in this case based on ones trappings and mode of transport has been part of the human condition since man has walked the earth. Profiling is interlaced in mankind’s survival instinct and as such, a part of human nature.

    Legislating for or against human nature is like stepping on a ball of mercury, which when stepped on will disperse, reforming as mercury elsewhere. If the past is any indication of the future, profiling will be part of the human condition for as long as humans have a condition.

    Paladin

  10. Storyteller [email protected] Says:

    Yep,takes one cop and five back up’s to write me a 4 pm taillights tag when I fly colors. Takes one to write me a 78 in a 55 freeway tag at 3 am. But not profiling.

  11. The Kraut Says:

    Badges need bogeymen to justify their cost to maintain and show the public they are being “protected”.

    Fucking fucks is right.

    The natural sheep dogs wear no badge… perhaps a patch, perhaps not.

    Respect to those who warrant respect

    The Kraut

  12. Nuke n' Pave Dave Says:

    Even back in the sixties and seventies there was profiling. I remember back in ’69 the first time I was “profiled”. It was my senior year, I had just turned eighteen and my first Harley was running thanks to auto shop in high school. When the cop told me to keep my hands on the bars until backup arrived I looked around and he was holding a shotgun on me. He even looked nervous! They checked me and the bike out every way short of a colostomy, took my picture, gave me a general dressing down and generally fucked with my day for over an hour. It all ended up with a fix-it ticket for a high beam indicator. Other than a short period of time when the mid life crisis crowd has provided me with lots of camouflage, nothing has changed much at all over the years. Cops are gonna be cops, idiots are gonna be idiots and citizens are still gonna lock their daughters door when a scooter pulls up beside ’em. So what else is new?

  13. Johnny Rotten Says:

    typical backpeddle in a situation whereupon the results may benefit the one issuing the decree..
    we are treading unknown waters in this day
    where will the beach be
    where will the solid ground be….

    fucking fucks

    respects to those deserving

    johnny

  14. Sieg Says:

    Profiling has spread far and wide over our once-free lad, and will continue to do so. Those of us old enough to remember the sixties an attest to the loss of freedoms that has occurred in just a few short decades.

    Be prepared, because whether it’s due to the Patch on your back, the clothe you wear, or the way you carry yourself one day soon you will hear “welcome to amerika, zek, where are your papers?”

    FTF/FTP
    TOSIAR

Leave a Reply